July 22, 2009

Review: Aloe Glow

Description: A cosmetic click-pen that dispenses an aloe-based concealer and facial highlighter
Main Pitch: "Your skin will glow like never before" because it's "scientifically formulated with hydroponic aloe"
Main Offer: $20 for one
Bonus: Rose Shade Highlighter for an additional $10 and no additional shipping
Marketer: Unknown
Producer: Unknown
Website: www.AloeGlow.com
Product (D7) Score: 4 out of 7
Commercial Rating: OK

It's rare for me to reach this conclusion, but the biggest problem with this campaign may be the commercial and not the product. Although the product does face several challenges in the marketplace, there may be a way to make it sell. But this commercial is not that way.

First, the product. My main concerns are its uniqueness (is it different enough to stand out in a cluttered category dominated by big brands?) and the price ($20 seems awfully expensive for a single makeup pen, especially in this economy).

I also think the product may be inherently difficult to explain. To begin with, it's a click pen, and that requires attention. It's made from "hydroponic aloe," two words that also demand explanation. (Why is aloe beneficial in this context? What does "hydroponic" mean, and why is that method of growing plants better?) And it's positioned as both a concealer and a facial highlighter. That's a lot of stuff to fit into 1:30.

Some of these issues may be rooted in the advertising strategy, not the product itself. Just because an item can do 57 things doesn't mean you need to promote all 57 ... which leads me to the commercial. The only thing I love about it is the production value. It's beautifully shot and well edited. Otherwise, I think it needs work.

Specifically, while it utilizes quite a few of the proven DRTV selling techniques, it also misses quite a few. For example, the commercial doesn't start with a problem. Instead, it tries the "new breakthrough" approach, which really only works if: a) you're an established brand and/or b) your innovation is truly earth-shattering. Neither is the case here. I also didn't like the non-traditional presentation of the bonus. When it comes to bonuses, free is best. Free just pay separate shipping and handling is also fine. But $10 with no additional shipping doesn't make sense. The bonus becomes a forced additional sale rather than an extra benefit of ordering.

But the biggest problem with this commercial is that it tries to fit 10 pounds of messaging into a five-pound bag. The marketers in charge of this one need to cut copy relentlessly until they get to the core of the product -- a simple, clear set of selling points. The calls generated by this creative are bound to be long and full of questions, resulting in a low order conversion rate.

July 06, 2009

Third Quarter Media Preview

Dick Wechsler's last guest post was so well received, I've decided to ask him to weigh in more often on media matters. As we kick off third quarter, I thought it would be an appropriate time to ask Dick about the media outlook. Here's what he replied:

As we enter into the third quarter, the word on the street is that the Upfront Broadcast Market is down three to five percent over last year. That means that the cost per point advertisers are willing to pay for primetime network programming and the like is lower, year over year. While this is an unconfirmed figure, it is not good news for either the media or DRTV advertisers.

Here’s how the media market works: Each network, station, etc. projects its year based on an average cost per point. The greater the premium (to that average cost) the upfront market is able to secure, the more negotiating room there is at the bottom for the DRTV market. In simple terms, a lower top means a higher bottom. In the current market, the media seems more willing to sell inventory at a 20-30 percent discount to general advertisers than it is to sell that same inventory to the DRTV market at a 50-70 percent discount, as was previously the case. Ouch.

Furthermore, a weak upfront market usually means a strong scatter market. Scatter is the DRTV advertiser’s playground. Rather than committing their budgets in the upfronts, more general advertisers will be purchasing inventory on short notice in scatter. The result is likely to be uncertain inventory availability and volatile pricing.

The good news is that we should start seeing firm news about the upfronts in the next few weeks. Until we have clearer direction, don’t deviate from the pricing structure that makes sense for your campaign and buckle your seatbelts until the media market settles.